The first-ever Downtown Missoula Master Plan was created in 2007-2008 through a community-wide visioning process. It was unanimously approved by the Missoula City Council and several other Missoula organizations in 2009. The purpose of the plan was to build a comprehensive, balance-centered strategy to strengthen and expand Downtown Missoula’s role as the economic and cultural heart of the city. The 2009 Master Plan is a reflection of Missoula’s values. It reinforces the character, culture and economic activity of Downtown, and it builds on Missoula’s history. The plan focuses on land use and circulation and provides strategies in the areas of employment, housing, parking, retail, and tourism.
With consistent and persistent leadership, the Downtown Master Plan Committee has been diligent in its efforts to ensure the plan is realized and serves as the primary guiding tool for decisions impacting Downtown. Comprised of 16 community members from the private and public sectors, the Implementation Team consists of representatives from:
- City Development Services
- City Transportation Services
- Destination Missoula
- Downtown Business Improvement District
- Farran Realty Partners
- Missoula City Council
- Missoula County Commission
- Missoula Downtown Association
- Missoula Downtown Foundation
- Missoula Housing Authority
- Missoula Parking Commission
- Missoula Redevelopment Agency
- Montana Department of Transportation
- Mountain Line
The plan has attracted more than $850 million dollars of investment in Downtown Missoula, as public and private entities work towards making Missoula’s vision a reality. New and renovated buildings, expansion of government services, infrastructure and transportation improvements, and a culture of entrepreneurship are just some of the focused accomplishments.
In October 2016, the Master Plan Implementation Team reviewed every action item in the plan. That detailed review showcases what has been completed, what is in progress, and what has yet to take place or will not happen:
- 2017 DTMP City Council Presentation: Accomplishments, current and future projects
- 2017 DTMP Status Report: Land Use & Circulation
- 2017 DTMP Status Report: Sub-Strategies
That review highlighted the successes of the last 10 years and the need to do a formal update of the original plan. These major accomplishments and projects have served as catalysts for additional development:
- North Higgins Street Improvement Project (2010) put Missoula in the national spotlight for protected bike lanes and complete streets design and led to full occupancy from Broadway north.
- First Interstate Bank (2011) and Garlington, Lohn & Robinson (2012) each built a six-story employment center in Downtown Missoula.
- The Park Place Parking Structure (2013) won a national parking award for its design and holds the largest solar installation in the State of Montana.
- The Old Sawmill District completed Silver Park, the boat launch and extended the riverfront trail, and completed multiple private residential projects and started development on new ones.
- The Riverfront Triangle is expected to break ground on a conference center and hotel, with commercial and residential development to follow.
- Madison and Higgins Bridges will be re-decked with improved pedestrian and bicycle facilities.
Priorities for the Master Plan update in 2018 have been identified and include:
- Business Retention & Recruitment Strategies
- Business/Employment Growth
- Caras Corridor Planning
- Downtown Housing Development
- Front & Main Redesign & Retail Flow
- Parking Development
- Retail Recruitment Strategies
- River Corridor Planning
- Street Design Standards
- Technology Growth